- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Commonwealth may have lost more than just a game against crosstown rival Richmond on Saturday.

Richmond’s Kendall Anthony scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half as Richmond made an emphatic rally to upset VCU 64-55 on Saturday. But more concerning for the Rams was the fate of starting point guard and defensive linchpin Briante Weber, who landed awkwardly with three minutes remaining and spent the rest of the game on crutches with ice on his right knee.

“Briante came down awkwardly on his knee,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said after the game. “I didn’t see how he came down, but he hurt his knee on the landing. He’s been looked at by our trainer and our team doctor and they’re working on getting him an MRI right now. I can’t tell you exactly what the diagnosis is. We’re hopeful that it’s something that he can come back from.”

VCU entered Saturday on a 12-game winning streak, and a win over Richmond would have matched its best stretch in Smart’s tenure. The Rams started off right on track with Weber playing his usual marauding role at the top of their Havoc press.

VCU (17-4, 7-1 Atlantic 10) led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but Richmond wasted no time in cutting into the lead. ShawnDre’ Jones made a 3-pointer and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa put back his own miss to cut the lead to 28-22 at the break.

The Spiders (12-9, 5-3) picked up where they left off, with T.J. Cline making two 3-pointers and Terry Allen adding one as part of a 22-4 run spanning both halves that opened up a 39-32 Richmond lead. Terry Larrier ended that run with a driving baseline layup and drew a foul in the process, but missed the free throw.

Anthony took over from there, scoring the Spiders’ next eight points and 16 of their next 18.

“They really came at us in the second half,” Smart said. “We had defended very well in the first half, but did not have the same energy and aggressiveness in the second half. We played with a lot of avoidance in the second half, and we can’t be good like that, particularly with our style of play.”

The Spiders awoke on offense with execution and aggression, keeping in control against the Rams’ pressure. They turned the ball over just 12 times, six fewer than VCU’s average, and won the rebounding battle 39-27.

“Right from the beginning today, the first few shots that went up, we had guys in white jerseys with their hands above the rim snatching rebounds,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “We had some guys come up with some really big rebounds.”

TIP-INS:

Richmond: The Spiders picked up their first road win of the season. They took George Washington to double overtime on Jan. 15 and lost to No. 22 Dayton by three points on Jan. 24. … Saturday marked the first time Richmond did not have at least three players in double figures in conference play.

Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams missed a chance to set a new high winning streak in Smarts tenure after winning 12 consecutive games entering Saturday. …The loss also snapped a 16-game conference VCU winning streak. … VCU had won 19 of its last 20 games at the Siegel Center, with the lone loss coming to No. 2 Virginia on Dec. 6. … VCU leads the all-time series, 45-27, and had won the previous four meetings.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

VCU freshman Terry Larrier made a layup and drew a foul at the under-12 media timeout, but missed his free throw after the break. Anthony responded with a floater at the other end that pushed the Spiders lead back to six at 41-35. VCU would not come closer than a four-point deficit the rest of the way.

COURTSIDE

Former VCU standout Darius Theus was the participant in the pregame shootout. He made the close-in shots quickly, but missed all three of his halfcourt attempts. … A group of VCU fans near the Spiders bench dressed in full Kiss regalia, presumably without consulting fellow costumed band GWAR, formed in Richmond by a pair of VCU students.

UP NEXT

Richmond visits La Salle on Thursday.

Virginia Commonwealth visits George Mason on Wednesday.

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